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Joan Mir says Fabio Quartararo is the perfect heir to this MotoGP crown… because he can't get near him on the track.
Young gun Quartararo is expected to pick up his first world title at Sunday's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Misano.
Such is Quartararo's dominance this season, Mir's title defence was as good as over before it even started – because he's been too fast to rub shoulders with him.
Mir said: "We didn't fight too much during the races. By the end of races, I was coming towards him, but he was already too far gone in front.
"I could not fight face-to-face with Fabio this year.
"He did a great job, he has been well coached and he is always in that top position. He is clearly a deserved champion."
Mir is yet to win a race this season, but his five podiums keep him in the hunt for second place in the championship.
But first he would need to beat Pecco Bagnaia to the punch, another young MotoGP sensation making waves in the senior class.
The top three in the championship have an average age of just 23 and with Valentino Rossi retiring, Marc Marquez struggling and big changes afoot, Mir believes that motorbike racing's senior class is going through a revolution.
"I don't know if we are competing to be the next superstar, but we are a new generation of young guns. We are the top riders now," Mir said.
"It is important to always be at the top level now. The other guys are also young and are fighting for the same things as you.
Will Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo be the dominant rivalry of MotoGP over the next decade? Let us know in the comments section.
"Most riders and veterans have achieved everything that they want to do. The young riders are beginning to take their place."
Despite the emergence of the new generation, one eye will remain on Marquez next season as he looks to bounce back from the upper body injuries that ruled him out of the 2020 season.
Many expected the six-time premier class champion to be back to his best this season, but Mir insists the lay of the land is now different.
He said: "Everything is much more tight, much more level and I think he expected it to be easier. Now it is different. But Marc is a top rider and next year he will be one of the contenders I am sure."
- Fabio Quartararo
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